According to this article in the Miami Herald, the state of Florida tops the nation in mortgage fraud cases. This has happened in spite of the fact that Florida enacted tough penalties for mortgage fraud last year, which made the crime a 3rd degree felony. A third degree felony is punishable by up to 5 years in prison, and $5000 in fines Florida lawmakers are proposing increasing the charge to a 2nd degree felony, which would carry a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison, and a $10,000 fine.
Mortgage fraud is the crime of falsifying financial records to get or improve the terms of a mortgage to by a home. Florida is one of the hardest hit states for foreclosures on homes and condos, partially due to the wild speculation that was done in flipping condos and vacation homes when the real estate market was booming. The easy money while the market was rising made mortgage fraud a tempting crime, especially when everyone was making money.
But not that the boom times are over, and banks are desperate to get back some of the loans they issued, the fact that many people were acting in a criminal manner to borrow money is a serious problem.
If you are accused of mortgage fraud, please contact us for a criminal defense consultation.